The initiation ceremony at Newton Lodge No 6288 was special for three especial of reasons. Firstly, as it was the first initiation ceremony this small lodge has performed for five years. Secondly, Jim Cartledge the WM of St Oswald Lodge No 5170 after attending to their business in an adjoining lodge room, requested permission for his members and their guests to be admitted to witness the initiation ceremony. They were duly admitted and swelled the numbers in attendance to 84, including four grand officers. It was the best attended regular lodge meeting, barring installations, for several years.
Thirdly and most importantly, after dispatching the initial business, the WM David Whitmore then initiated his son Ben into Freemasonry; just as in 1990 David had been initiated by his father Fred. So Ben has now literally followed in the footsteps of his father and grandfather!
David made reference to the attendance on opening the lodge saying: “I am delighted to see the lodge so full and I would like to thank everyone for coming, especially those who have travelled across the Pennines to be with us tonight.”
Ben is a 27 year old single man who works near Leeds as a Proposals Engineer with a broadcast systems company. The company design, manufacture and deliver outside broadcast vehicles and television studios for broadcasters all around the world. His manager at work Jonathan Lyth is also a Freemason who discussed the possibility of recruiting Ben into his own lodge, Lodge of Friendship No 750 that meets in Cleckheaton, Yorkshire. As soon as Ben informed Jonathan about the family connection at Newton Lodge he insisted that Ben spoke with his father about joining Freemasonry before committing himself to a Yorkshire lodge. Jonathan Lyth and two colleagues, John Harrison and Benjamin Harvey travelled from Leeds to support Ben and pay their first visit to the West Lancashire Province.
By coincidence the junior and senior deacons were well known to Ben, as Mike Ryder and Alan Greggs were colleagues of the WM when they were in the chairs of their respective lodges in 1999. Such familiarity helped to put the candidate at ease as he entered the lodge room.
David conducted the ceremony with good control, especially considering the emotion of the evening and fronted proceedings up to the northeast corner when he was ably assisted by Charles Carr. Norman Holliday presented and explained the working tools and the ceremony was concluded by Gordon Amos who delivered the charge with the confident and eloquent style for which he is well renowned.
At the social board an excellent meal was served which was enjoyed by all. Ben, in response to the toast to his health and after thanking his proposer and seconder said: “I’m proud to have been initiated into Newton Lodge just as my dad and granddad did before me. I would like to thank everyone for their support this evening and especially those brethren who took part in the ceremony and put me at my ease. I hope to make my dad as proud of me as I am of him. I am now looking forward to visiting a lodge working a first degree ceremony so that I can make some sense of it.”
He was then presented with the Warrington Group’s welcome pack by Andy Sharp, assistant group mentor, who welcomed Ben into Freemasonry. The formalities of the evening were brought to a close with the tyler’s toast.